Closer to Choosing a Gradebook

My last post was written when I was, shall we say, a bit distressed over choosing a gradebook.  I had thought this would be the no-brainer part of switching to SBG – but it didn’t turn out to be quite so easy.

A few days later, and with a bit of time to think it over, I am leaning heavily towards doing a free trial of ActiveGrade and then probably paying for it (or maybe getting my school to at least chip-in).

Why the difficulty in choosing a gradebook?

I want something that facilitates entering data and keeps historical information so I can look for improvement over time.  I thought about renaming categories such as “Homework” and “Tests” to each of my standards, but I think I have too many standards to do that and I don’t think I could set-up different tiers of standards (core and higher).

I want something that will let me see at a glance what each student has accomplished and needs to work on and can provide this same info in a printout for students.  Since many of my students don’t have easy internet access, having the ability to print this out is key. (Of course I could get around that by requiring students to keep their own record of their progress – and I may still require that.)

I really like the feedback system that Blue Harvest allows, but since many of my students don’t have easy internet access, I think many of the features it offers would go unused.

I also looked briefly at a DIY version at Excel for Educators.  If I had more time to devote to creating a gradebook I could probably get exactly what I am looking for, especially since internet access to grades or feedback is not something I need to have.  Maybe next year, when some of my other projects are completed (or pushed to the back burner)…

For now, I am off to ActiveGrade to give that a test drive.

Update 8/26:  Setting things up in ActiveGrade went well.  The best part (when I figured out how to do it) was that I could copy & paste my standards into the gradebook.  If you have them in Excel (or a similar spreadsheet), and have them listed with the name (in my case a code), the description, and then the tag (in my case I am using this to be able to identify core standards and use a conjuctive grading scale – more on that later) it is quite simple.  You can find more out at ActiveGrade’s blog with a search for Bulk Standard Uploader (in the 6/28/12 post).